MOVE BEYOND SKICC

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The UT administration is keen to boost the tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The Department of Tourism is spending crores to attract tourists, which shall benefit all stakeholders. The Tourism Department is organizing many events to boost tourist inflow into the region, but these events are mostly elitist. Flourishing tourism in Kashmir benefits the people dependent on the sector. It also defines normalcy in Kashmir. In response to the assertions being made by the political class who refute the claims of normalcy, the government presents the figures of tourists visiting the Valley. It cannot be denied that the swelling number of tourists visiting Kashmir each year reflects on the ground situation here.

Equally, common people not directly associated with the tourism sector should be seen as partners in the events being organized by the Tourism Department. The department should move beyond SKICC, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. The festivals should be designed with common masses as the target audience and must offer them something to enjoy and cheer. The various tourism festivals should be organized at places accessible to the common people. If this is ensured, these events shall leave an imprint in the minds of the people. The people will feel joy in this value addition to their life. The festivals shall not reach their optimum potential if the select and privileged elites benefit from government spending. The effort of the government must be to bring a smile on the faces of the common people.

Why is this important? Because the narrative of “Abnormal Kashmir” is sold to the commoners alone. If there is no hustle and bustle, nothing to celebrate and cheer, they tend to believe the narrative.

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